The Crimson Halls of Icecrown Citadel contains the kind of horrors that the Plagueworks could only hint at. The Crimson Halls is where all the emo vampire RPing blood elves went to die... and then came back!
True story, and a complete tangent: a friend of mine, in her 30s, mother of two, recently admitted to me that her shameful, guilty pleasure is reading the Twilight books (which, I gather, are like Anne Rice 90210 for teenagers). She says the books are awful and everything you'd fear, but she can't stop reading them. Then she saw a Twilight movie was horrified to see -- to really see with her own eyes -- that these hunky guys of literary lust were like 17 years old. Sure, they were in the books too, but apparently when reading she had unconsciously changed them to a more age-appropriate hunky mental image and suddenly felt very creepy seeing these kids on the screen. It's one vast landscape of pain, being old.
Join me after the cut as we veer back on topic and take a look at the hunter tips and tricks for the Crimson Halls, from Blood Princes to Blood Queens, including how we can take a break from kiting and become tanks!
Do as Your RL Says
As always in these hunter guides, we're going to assume that you're familiar with the basic strat and abilities of the encounter. We are focusing on the hunter role, not teaching you the fight from scratch. And of course if your raid leader's strategy involves anything different than what I'm saying here, always do what your raid leader says. Even if he's wrong.
Blood Prince Council
After blowing through some blessedly light and easy trash we come face to face with three bosses we thought we had already killed: Keleseth, Valanar, and Taldaram make up the Blood Prince Council.
The fight is lousy with target switching and situational awareness -- avoid this, head toward that, keep an eye out for those, spread out, move over there, now over here. The Blood Prince Council is like a gnomish engineer -- why do just one thing when you can accomplish the same goal with fifty moving parts? Well, maybe that's all engineers and not just gnomes. There's a lot going on in the fight, but it compensates with a generous enrage timer and being pretty forgiving of mistakes. There's not a whole lot that's going to get you one-shot, regardless of what you blindly walk into.
Hunters bring some unique functionality to the fight that lets us fill a variety of roles, including tanking Keleseth. But in most cases we're just going to be DPSing the princes and we'll likely be handling the Kinetic Bomb.
- It's a long fight, so it's well worth blowing your Rapid Fire right at the outset -- you'll be able to use it a lot. For MM hunters, you can easily get six Rapid Fires off, which can be helpful in managing your mana via Rapid Recuperation. SV hunters can likely expect to get two Rapid Fires in this fight.
- Be ready to MD the Dark Nucleus to the Keleseth tank if they appear on the far side of the room from the tank. This is especially important early in the fight to make sure the tank has at least 4 Dark Nucleus by the time Keleseth becomes empowered.
- You can assign your pet to a Kinetic Bomb and your pet will keep it up indefinitely on its own. This can be a great use for a MM or SV pet that lets everyone keep their DPS focused on the boss. In addition, with Dash your pet can often reach distant bombs faster than you could even get in range to shoot it. Note that you'll want Furious Howl to be on auto-cast if you're doing this. If you manually hit Furious Howl (because you're stacking cooldowns, for example) your pet will leave the bomb and switch to your current target when you trigger Furious Howl. If a bomb is near enough you, it's more DPS effective to just tab over for the occasional Arcane Shot rather than losing your pet, however.
- The only thing that's really a danger to your pet is Glittering Sparks. However, if your pet gets hit with Glittering Sparks you can just hit Cower and your pet should be fine without even a Mend Pet.
- If you're MM, it's probably not worth re-casting Serpent Sting for your 2-piece tier 10 procs (as we discussed in Misunderstood Hunter Abilities). You won't be on the same target long enough to really make up for the loss of the Steady Shot. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have at least 40 seconds on the target to make reapplying worthwhile (and much longer if you don't have the t9 2-piece bonus).
- You don't need any special tanking gear. The shadow damage reduction from Dark Nucleus is all you need.
- As long as Keleseth is not the raid target, he's at 1% health, so use Kill Shot at every opportunity to build up your threat lead.
- Collecting Dark Nucleus is your top priority (well, making sure you have aggro on Keleseth is top, then the Dark Nucleus). This is especially important at the beginning of the fight when you'll be taking large damage from the shadow bolts.
- You want to have 4 - 5 Dark Nucleus at all times. The shadow damage reduction does not stack additively, so 3 Dark Nucleus does not make you immune.
- A single shot is all you need to get the Dark Nucleus on you. Don't do too much damage to them -- you don't want to kill them early!
- I found it useful to make Keleseth my focus target. Once I had several Dark Nucleus surrounding me I found it very difficult to click or tab target back to Keleseth. My screen was nothing but a cluster of purple balloons.
- Keep in mind that you can and should still be using your pet to handle Kinetic Bombs.
Once the princes are dealt with we have another couple easy trash packs before reaching the Blood Queen herself. And here you can almost hear the cries of joy from all the RPers -- they finally, really, get to be a vampire! And being a vampire is sweet, sweet DPS indeed.
The Blood Queen is a pretty straight-forward fight: just a DPS race with some positioning and situational awareness thrown in.
- SV hunters definitely want to save Rapid Fire for after they get bitten. MM on the other hand will want to burn that first Rapid Fire on engage. The fight is very short, and if you're going to get all four Rapid Fires in, you have to use 'em right away. If you wait to get bitten you'll likely end up with only two Rapid Fires to use in the course of the fight, and every little bit of DPS is essential here.
- For MM, remember that the vampire buff is a 100% damage increase -- meaning that you will need to reapply your Serpent Sting after you get bitten. If you don't, your Chimera Shot will continue to refresh Serpent Sting without the damage increase.
- Disengage is a great way to group up for Pact of the Darkfallen. Amusingly on my raid's first Blood Queen attempt we didn't have an assigned meeting place and I Disengaged toward the mage I was linked to just as he Blinked toward me -- and we ended up sailing past each other.
- If your healers are truly struggling, you could use Deterrence during Bloodbolt Whirl to lessen the healing load; however, in a DPS race fight like this one it's generally not a good idea to shut down your DPS for that long.
- Be sure to slowly shoot n' scoot your way over to the target that you're going to need to bite when your vampire timer is almost up. Once it's time to bite someone, you want to just step 6 yards over, not run across the room. Like most boss fights, it's all about thinking a couple steps ahead and know what you're going to do in 15 seconds, not just right now.
You want to be a Hunter, eh? Well then you came to the right place. You start with science, then you add some Dwarven Stout, and round it off some elf bashing. The end result is massive dps. Scattered Shots is the WoW.com column dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a Hunter. Each week Scattered Shots will cover topics to help you improve your Heroic DPS, understand the impact of Skill vs. Gear, and get started with Beast Mastery 101.